It’s a waste of time to fish in a spot where fish aren’t biting. Wise fishermen move on. They know that fish eat at different times of the day in various places. To apply this to ministry, you need to focus on the most receptive people in your area.
The fact is, receptiveness to the Gospel varies widely at different times of people’s lives. Sometimes people are very open to the Gospel and sometimes they’re very closed. And receptivity doesn’t last forever. Jesus knew this very well, and so He said, “Go to the people who will listen.” In sending the disciples out to evangelize, He said,
If a home or town refuses to welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet.
Matthew 10:13-14 (NCV)
If the fruit is ripe, you don’t have to yank it. It comes off quickly. Who are the most receptive people in your community? How do you know who’s ready to be reached? Individuals who are experiencing change, for good or for bad, are more receptive.
When people are going through changes, right or wrong, it makes them more open to the Gospel. Individuals in transition and those under tension are the most receptive.
When people are going through a transition, they’re more open. A new job, a new home, a new baby, a new graduation, a new marriage. And second, those under tension such as physical stress, emotional tension, economic anxiety, or relational tension are usually searching for answers, for hope, and for truth. Now, who do you know that needs to hear the gospel? Where is, God working in your community?
The Ten most sensitive groups of people:
- Second-time visitors to the church
- Close friends and relatives of new converts
- People going through a divorce
- Those who feel their need for a recovery program (alcohol, drugs, sexual, and so forth)
- First-time parents
- The terminally ill and their families
- Couples with major marriage problems
- Parents with problem children
- Recently unemployed or those with significant financial problems
- New residents in the community